Houston-based Texas Right-to-Life Group singled out for making false and misleading statements this legislative session.
One of several pro-life groups in Texas recently sent out an email blaring, "They're scamming Pro-Life voters." My question is, who is really scamming whom?
This complaining group is attempting to define the pro-life movement and the success of the 85th legislature by one bill: the dismemberment ban.
This dismemberment ban targets one abortion procedure, dilation & extraction, and may never save a single baby. Senator Charles Perry remarked when he laid out the bill in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee that the bill would not challenge Roe because rather than act as a de facto ban of second trimester abortions, the bill would require that the baby would have to be killed with an injection of digoxin before dismemberment could occur. So, even the bill author admitted that the bill doesn't save any babies.
Further, the bill has been enjoined in every state that has passed it, and is already on its way to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Even so, we now know the law would simply require the baby be killed in a different manner. It is completely disingenuous then to suggest that this bill would save babies, much less that it is the only one that will.
Additionally, this organization is criticizing pro-life bills that Texans for Life and other pro-life and Christian groups have championed, insisting the bills are ineffective or non-priority and even "detrimental!" For context, these same people also referred to an end-of-life food and water bill they eventually agreed to last session as "dangerous."
They continue to lash out against HB 200 and SB 8, which would create a state ban on partial-birth abortion. While it is true there is already a federal ban, expose' videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress gave us ample indication that abortionists are flouting that law. Almost two years later, the federal government has yet to investigate or prosecute.
Partial-birth abortion is clearly the preferred method for protecting babies' organs for sale, which is why Governor Greg Abbott made a state ban with tougher penalties a top priority. A state ban can be enforced by Texans, and along with a ban on fetal tissue research and a requirement for the humane disposal of these lost babies, effectively shuts down this heinous trafficking of baby organs. We proudly stand with Governor Abbott, Senator Charles Schwertner and Representative Cindy Burkett in championing this legislation.
This same group has also been very critical of a reporting bill carried by Senator Donna Campbell and Representative Giovanni Capriglione, saying it is already required in the Administrative Code. What they don't tell you is that is that the rule is not legally binding and carries no penalty, therefore there is almost zero compliance. For instance, under current law, the Department of State Health Services estimates they get about 30 reports of complications a year - for over 50,000 abortions.
By comparison, California Medicaid abortions were tracked for complications in 2009 and 2010. Their subset was almost the same as our 2014 number of abortions. Yet, instead of 30 reports, California reported 126 major complications and over 1,000 lesser complications. A Finnish study reported a far higher rate of complications than the California study. Even Planned Parenthood has admitted in court to a higher complication rate, yet the State of Texas has no data to track.
Last summer the Supreme Court struck down two key safety provisions of HB 2 (the very ones that closed dozens of substandard clinics), citing that lack of data, and established a higher burden of proof we must meet for future legislation. Better reporting from the facilities treating abortion complications is the only way to determine which legislation will satisfy that criteria.
These are just a couple of examples of the "detrimental" legislation Texans for Life, The Christian Life Commission, Texas Alliance for Life and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops are pursuing. It is incremental legislation in keeping with that which has seen Texas roll back its abortion numbers to what they were in 1977, when our population was less than half of what it is now.
Name another state that has seen its abortion rate drop from 29.81 to 9.53 per 1000 women. While the pro-life movement used to rejoice if we got one or two bills a session, we now routinely see half a dozen life-affirming bills passed each session.
It is exceedingly rare for Texans for Life to call out a fellow pro-life group, testify against other group's pro-life bills or attack them publicly, but enough is enough. We are about improving pro-life policy, education and legislation, not eating our own.
Similarly, you will find that, unlike others, we do not lob gratuitous or false attacks against lawmakers or use our issue as a weapon during the election cycle.
Our efforts are centered on building relationships built on respect and trust with friendly legislators. Perhaps that would explain why our bills are moving through both chambers, while the bills of some are not.
Kyleen Wright, president